NASHVILLE, Tenn. — In his first 15 months on the job, Titans general manager Jon Robinson has proven he’s not afraid to make a move.
A pair of former NFL executives believe he’ll look to keep wheeling and dealing in this year’s NFL Draft.
“Pardon the pun, but I think he should be put in jail for stealing,’’ long-time Cowboys personnel man Gil Brandt, with a chuckle, said of Robinson, referring to the GM’s successful trades since taking over. “I think he has done a marvelous job. I think what he did last year was great.
Phil Savage, who worked in the NFL as a coach, scout and executive for 20 years, agreed with Brandt while offering praise for Robinson. Brandt and Savage made their comments during a pre-draft conference call on Wednesday afternoon for SIRIUSXM NFL Radio.
“I think Titans fans should be really pleased with what Jon has done,’’ said Savage, a former director of player personnel with the Ravens who also spent four years as general manager of the Browns. “He’s done it with a mixture of free agency, with some sort of under-the-radar signings like (center)
“But I would say keep an eye on that choice at five. Unless there is a player they are totally in love with, most likely a defensive back in my mind – I don’t think there is a wide receiver there to take at five. I would look for them to try and be on the move from that spot. … At a certain point from (picks) 10 to 50, in essence you are getting a very similar player in many ways.
“I think (the Titans) are in a position to have a strong draft at five and 18. If they stay put they are going to get two really good players. If they move down they may have an opportunity to pick up three or four really good players.”
Robinson has made five trades since taking over last January:
• The Titans swapped fourth-round picks with the Eagles in exchange for running back
• Robinson traded the No.1 pick of the draft to the Los Angeles Rams for the 15th overall pick in the draft, two second-round picks (43 and 45), and a third-rounder (76) in 2016. The Titans also received the Rams’ first-round pick (fifth overall) in 2017, along with a third-round compensatory pick (100).
• The Titans traded the 15th and the 76th overall pick, along with a second-round pick in 2017, to move up in the draft to land Michigan State tackle
• On the third day of last year’s draft, the Titans traded with the Broncos and acquired cornerbacks
• Last August, the Titans traded receiver Dorial Green-Beckham to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for versatile offensive lineman
“There’s a lot of those corners who all look very much alike,’’ Brandt said. “So whenever you can get a 2-for-1, and have two chances to win the lottery instead of one, and you get a player you think is in the same plateau, make the move.”
Savage, who as the director of college scouting and later as the director of player personnel with the Baltimore Ravens helped assemble a roster that included 12 Pro Bowlers, said the Titans will have some nice options at the receiver position.
Clemson’s Mike Williams, Western Michigan’s Corey Davis and Washington’s John Ross are considered the top receivers in this year’s draft class, but Savage thinks East Carolina’s Zay Jones could be special as well.
“Just looking at the roster, the depth chart of the Titans receiver group, you would think that they would probably favor a bigger power forward type of guy,” Savage said. “A player that I really like and I think could be a combination of outside and inside – he’s just a playmaker – is Zay Jones. He is probably more of a second-round type of choice.
“There are some receivers in this draft that are going to plug in as a third wide out when teams go to their 11 personnel with the three wide receivers on the field and I think they’ll be able to contribute something this year.”